OUR FIELD VISIT AND REPORT 2015
( Program Resource Development)
As a Christian mission agency with indigenous missionaries in the field, we conducted a field visit to our mission interns in West Nile on March 21 – 23, 2015 that was quite significant at this stage. Through it we discovered a lot about the receptions of our interns at the health facilities and communities at large. Amidst all the appreciations, complements and wonderful comments there also emerged needs, worries and concerns, which we have taken note of as action points and viewpoints for our deliberations, planning and actions.
It is clear that the ‘mission internship program’ is vital on the ground. The management committees of the various facilities expressed concern about what happens after the end of the 12 months placement. Some of the facilities such as where Hosea is would have no one to provide the services he is providing now, thus the fear for closing the Centre or rendering it redundant.
The impact our interns have on their placements, their interaction with the communities and role-plays have set examples that cannot be explained in words and or replaced. Communities are convinced that without GLA involvement they would not have such services at the various health facilities. Thus their cry for extension or maintaining the existing interns, was all they had to say.
As indicated by the speeches from the members of the management committees, community representatives and staff at the facilities, this is a community project that GLA should maintain. The presence of Komakech Simon and Achieng Sandra in Yivu Abea, Akong Gloria in Katiyi and Hosea Anyole in Anyiribu fulfill the needs and demands for this program to continue.
Komakech Simon was one of our first lots of interns to have gone on placement. His presence at Yivu Abea for 12 months was clearly productive from his involvement with the Health Centre as a Clinical Health Officer to door-to-door discipleship, youth and children ministries, community service such as bricklaying and tree planting, counseling and visitations to mention a few. These activities created a norm in the community of the role our missionaries’ play, which future missionaries should match or emulate in their own ways. The benefit of having such a missionary that assimilate into the community and belong to them is vibrant both to the community and to GLA and clearly something that we should build on.
We are yet to visit Ayikuro Patience, Temia Joyce, Akello Alice and Alfred Asukadi in their placements but certainly the comments, complements, appreciation, needs and concerns would not be any different from what we have got from the recent field visit. The benefits of the program can clearly be seen and heard of. It is amazingly good works the Lord is doing through our interns.
It is clear that we have to prepare the interns for the new communities we send them to and also prepare the communities for receiving them. This was clear from how the community in Katiyi struggled to understand Gloria Akong on her arrival. It would be necessary for the communities to have briefs about personal backgrounds of the interns. Also the personality backgrounds of the interns would be vital in helping them to assimilate into the communities and also assist the communities in preparing to receive them.
However, this time round we did not visit Amongin Grace at Erepi Health Centre II and Otim Samuel at Shalom Medical Centre in Busia. Joseph had in December 2014 visited Grace briefly. He did not meet the management committee but had spent some time with Grace. It was clear that she has assimilated very well though still faced with language barrier. Her work at the clinic was exceedingly overwhelming. The challenge she had was that of the community not willing to pay for the services and especially for medication. It took Grace some time to sensitize them. Felix one of the elderly nurses that work with Grace hand in hand confirmed this. Grace had developed a youth and children ministry that was so effective during the Youth/Children Camp that the Archdeaconry of Ma’di organized in December 2014.
We noted that it is quite necessary that GLA creates room for regular communication with the management committees and also ascertain that it formally thank the communities for accepting and supporting the interns and appreciate it for the partnership. This need came clear during the visit and it was loud and clear that the communities feel that as beneficiaries of GLA program, receiving the organization’s words of appreciation and thanking the communities would cement farther the relationship GLA has successfully established with the beneficiaries.
GLA staff involvement in activities organized and held by the interns in the various placements would stand out as official support for what they are doing in the communities. Based on this GLA Okullo Samuel Baker and Joseph Odongkara during the visit in Yivu Abea attended a half day Youth Conference Sandra organized on Saturday 21 March, 2015 where Odongkara spoke on Purity. It was a topic the Youth were eager to hear and discuss though at the start they were shy and cooed out of discussion and or asking questions. And on Sunday March 22, 2015 he preached on THE NEW COVENENT based on the readings of the day (Jeremiah 30:31, Hebrews 5:5 and John 5). It was such a blessing hearing him preach to the congregation that struggles with ‘Forgiveness and Reconciliation’. Odongkara stressed to the congregation that God has given us a ‘New Covenant of Forgiveness and Reconciliation’ after wiping away our sins and not even remembering them. “He wiped the slate clean, forgave all our sins and reconciled us to himself,” he concluded. The congregations were clearly moved.
It is clear that our involvement with interns and the communities would not only create closer relationships with the interns and the communities at large butalso usher a ‘sense of belonging and responsibility’.